What To Do with Leftover Corned Beef.
I think it is entirely possible that some of you may have corned beef leftover from St. Patrick’s Day lurking in your fridge. I thought some ideas for using it up might be useful, and it seemed to me that an interesting time period and region to find such hints would be World War II in Britain. Rationing was in force during the war and for many years afterwards and although the exact rules changed regularly, meat was one of the chief items controlled over that period. The Food Facts leaflets put out every week by the wartime Ministry of Food were an amazing source of ideas for the economical use of all foods, and I was confident that corned meat would feature regularly. I was not wrong. Here are my selections from the leaflets:
From Food Facts No. 26, in January 1941:
Potato and Corned Beef Pancake.
When you are offered corned beef instead of your usual cut of meat, do you know how to make it into a substantial dish? The great point is to keep it moist and utilize its fat to the best advantage. Here is a suggestion from America.
Mix lightly one breakfastcupful of chopped corned beef with the same quantity of diced cooked potatoes, and season with pepper and salt. Pour into a pan ¾ to 1 gill milk or household stock and a teaspoonful or so of clarified fat or dripping. When warmed, turn in the meat and potatoes, spreading them evenly. Flick another two tablespoonfuls of fat over the top. Place a plate over the pan and allow the pancake to cook slowly for about half an hour. A thick delicious crust will form on the bottom. Fold the pancake across and serve it up on a hot dish with sprouts or any other cooked green vegetable.
From Food Facts No. 76 of December, 1941:
Soak ½ lb. small haricot beans for 24 hours, then cook for 1 hour. Slice 1 lb. corned beef and shred one small cabbage. Put the beans, meat, cabbage and a chopped leek, if possible, in layers in a fire-proof dish, with a few peppercorns and a little salt sprinkled between. Mix one tablespoonful mustard and 1 tablespoon gravy thickening, with ½ pint vegetable stock, and add to the dish.
Cover closely and cook in a slow oven for about 45 minutes.
From Food Facts No. 92:
Corned Beef Mould.
Time: Preparation 15 minutes.
Ingredients: 2 to 4 oz. corned beef, 4 oz. soaked bread, 6 oz. mashed carrot, mock horseradish (4 tablespoonfuls grated swedes, 1 ½ teaspoonfuls mustard, 1 ½ tablespoonfuls vinegar), chopped parsley, pepper and salt.
Quantity: for 4 people.
Method: Mix the swede, mustard, vinegar together, and add the other ingredients. Press into basin and leave with plate and weight on top for about 4 hours. Turn out, cut into slices, and serve with potato salad and watercress.
In early June 1945, the Ministry of Food announced that canned corned meat imported (from America) to augment meat supplies, was to be more expensive. The Times reported the news in its edition of June 3:
The retail price of imported canned corned met is to go up to 1s.8d. and the wholesale price to 1s. 3 ½ d. a pound. From June 10 butchers will receive 1-7th of their ration supplies in the form of corned meat. The Ministry of Food states that customers should not be compelled to take more than 1-7th of their ration in corned meat, averaged over a reasonable period. Those who wish to take more may do so.
The Ministry of Food’s Food Facts No. 259, published later that same month, made corned beef a feature, as would have been expected.
Making the most of Corned Beef.
That “cut” off the joint isn’t all loss by a long way. You get some Corned Beef instead on each Ration Book – and it’s all good solid nourishment. Many people like the touch of variety Corned Beef gives to the family’s food.
Serve it with salad as a trouble-saving and refreshing hot weather meal. And try one of these appetizing suggestions for hot dishes, which make a little Corned Beef go a long way.
Beef Charlotte (Enough for 4)
Ingredients: 4 oz. corned beef, 4 oz. breadcrumbs, ½ lb. tomatoes, 1 teaspoonful Worcester sauce, 1 level teaspoonful salt, ½ level teaspoonful pepper.
Method: Mix the breadcrumbs and seasoning well together, roughly chop the tomatoes, saving some nice pieces for the top. Flake the meat. Arrange the ingredients in layers in a fireproof dish, beginning with the crumbs, then add tomato, then the meat, and ending with a layer of crumbs garnished with slices of tomato. Sprinkle a few shreds of margarine over the top, and bake the charlotte in a moderate oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot with gravy and vegetables.
Corned Pasties (Enough for 4)
Ingredients: 9 [?] oz. shortcrust pastry, 4 oz. cooked diced mixed vegetables, 4 oz. corned beef, diced, chopped parsley, seasoning.
Method: Make the pastry and cut into four large rounds. Mix together the other ingredients and place some in the centre of each pasty round. Fold over, damp the edges and press together. Bake in a hot oven about 20 minutes.